FIRST ON FOX: Republican Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Mike Braun of Indiana sent a letter to the nation’s top spy, calling on her to comply with federal law by declassifying and turning over "any and all information" related to the origins of COVID-19 to Congress.
Hawley and Braun sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines on Tuesday, calling on the Office of National Intelligence (ODNI) head to follow the law they introduced that was enacted by President Biden "to help get to the truth about China and COVID-19."
"That law required the Director of National Intelligence to ‘declassify any and all information’ relating to links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the origin of COVID-19," the senators wrote.
"You failed to comply with both requirements. The deadline was June 18, 2023," they continued. "Well past the statutory deadline, your office published a declassified report after business hours on June 23."
"And the report itself was a paltry five pages of information, plus a cover page and appendix. Obviously, the U.S. government is in possession of more information than that. This half-baked effort falls woefully short of the statutory requirements and undermines congressional intent."
Hawley and Braun wrote that Haines’ "failure to comply with the law is especially worrisome in light of recent events," noting the Biden administration as well as ODNI "has exhibited a concerning level of deference towards China, including obfuscating the extent of China’s intelligence cooperation with Cuba and downplaying the seriousness of China’s intelligence collection over U.S. airspace."
The senators then said ODNI and the Biden administration appear to be holding back information to appease the communist Chinese government.
"You—and the rest of the Administration—appear to be refusing to provide information about China’s role in and responsibility for the COVID-19 pandemic in order to avoid upsetting Beijing," the senators wrote.
"We invite you to try again. Within 7 business days, provide to Congress documentation that fully complies with the letter fo the law to disclose ‘any and all information’ related to the origins of COVID-19 and a lab leak with minimal redactions," they continued.
"If you fail to do so, we would welcome your testimony before Congress on this matter so you may answer questions under oath," Hawley and Braun wrote. "The American people deserve to know the truth about China’s role in the origins of COVID-19."
The Republicans’ letter comes as scrutiny on the Biden administration and ODNI intensifies after the lackluster COVID-19 origins report was delivered late to Congress.
ODNI released a nine-page report on the "Potential Links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Origin of the COVID-19 Pandemic," which analyzed the U.S. intelligence community's understanding of the Wuhan, China-based institute at the center of the theory that the pandemic could have come from a lab leak, including its capabilities and actions of its personnel, the summary said.
While the intelligence community hasn't come to a conclusion on whether the pandemic was spurred by a lab leak or from "natural exposure" by an infected animal — like at one of the wild animal markets in China — "All agencies continue to assess that both a natural and laboratory-associated origin remain plausible hypotheses to explain the first human infection," the report said.
Fox News Digital’s Hanna Panreck contributed reporting.